NOTE: All in-article links open in a new tab.

CMS Memorandum: Guidance on Hospital Discharges to Post-Acute Care Proviers

Published on 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

It has been almost four years since the September 30, 2019 publication of the Discharge Planning Conditions of Participation (CoP) Final Rule in the Federal Register. At that time, CMS indicated that they would provide sub-regulatory interpretive guidance after the publication of the final rule, which will provide further clarification for implementing the final discharge planning requirements. You can read more about this final rule in a related MMP article.

In 2020, COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE), and CMS used emergency waiver authorities so providers could rapidly respond to people impacted by COVID-19. Specific to the Discharge Planning CoPs, CMS waived the following requirements:

§482.43(A)(8) Quality and Resource Use Measures

“The hospital must assist patients, their families, or the patient’s representative in selecting a post-acute care provider by using and sharing data that includes, but is not limited to, HHA, SNF, IRF, or LTCH data on quality measures and data on resource use measures. The hospital must ensure that the post-acute care data on quality measures and data on resource use measures is relevant and applicable to the patient’s goals of care and treatment preferences.”


§482.43 (C)(1) Patient Choice Lists

“The hospital must include in the discharge plan a list of HHAs, SNFs, IRFs, or LTCHs that are available to the patient, that are participating in the Medicare program, and that serve the geographic area (as defined by the HHA) in which the patient resides, or in the case of a SNF, IRF, or LTCH, in the geographic area requested by the patient. HHAs must request to be listed by the hospital as available.”


§482.61(e): Discharge Planning and Discharge Summary

“The record of each patient who has been discharged must have a discharge summary that includes a recapitulation of the patient’s hospitalization and recommendations from appropriate services concerning follow-up or aftercare as well as a brief summary of the patient’s condition on discharge.”


The discharge planning waivers expired on May 11, 2023 at the end of the COVID-19 PHE.

On June 6, 2023, CMS issued a Memorandum (QSO-23-16-Hospitals) to State Survey Agency Directors and noted in the Memorandum Summary that:

“CMS is committed to ensuring that the health and safety of patients are protected when discharges from hospitals and transfers to post-acute care providers occur. Therefore, we are providing the following information:

  • Reminding state agencies (SAs), accrediting organizations (AOs), and hospitals of the regulatory requirements for discharges and transfers to post-acute care providers.
  • Highlighting the risks to patients’ health and safety that can occur due to an unsafe discharge.
  • Recommendations that hospitals can leverage to improve their discharge policies and procedures to improve and protect patients’ health and safety.”


    Areas of Concern

    Examples from the list of concerns identified by CMS related to missing or inaccurate patient information includes:

  • Incomplete comprehensive list of all medications that have been prescribed to a patient during, and prior to, the hospitalization,
  • Skin tears, pressure ulcers, bruising, or lacerations, including orders or instructions for cultures, treatments, or dressings, and
  • A patient’s preferences and goals for care, such as their choices for treatment or their advance directives for end-of-life care.


After noting how missing and inaccurate patient information can have a negative impact for the patient, caregiver, and PAC providers, CMS reminds SAs and AOs about the discharge planning CoPs and advises that “when conducting surveys, SAs and AOs should be alert to the common issues identified above and ensure these discharges are occurring in a compliant and safe manner.”


Moving Forward

As of June 20, 2023, interpretive guidance for the Discharge Planning CoPs is still “pending and will be updated in future release” of the State Operations Manual – Appendix A – Survey Protocol, Regulations, and Interpretive Guidelines for hospitals. In the meantime, I encourage you to share this memorandum with your Discharge Planning staff so they can use the full list of areas of concern to make sure your medical record does not have missing or inaccurate patient information.



September 30, 2019 Discharge Planning CoP Final Rule:

Hospitals and CAHs (including Swing Beds, DPUs), ASCs and CMHs: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19:

June 6, 2023 CMS Memorandum (QSO-23-16-Hospitals):

CMS State Operations Manual – Appendix A:


Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.